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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News
By Tracy Connor

A Kentucky death-row inmate who murdered six people has lost his bid to have the state pay for a hip replacement.

Robert Foley, 58, claimed that the $50,000 operation was the only solution to arthritis pain he's experienced since 2008, but correction officials say it's not a medical necessity and they could not find a surgeon or hospital to perform the surgery.

"Hospital representatives have cited security as the primary reason for denying the request for surgery in this instance," the state wrote in court papers.

"The medical community’s concerns about security are understandable in this instance. Plaintiff is a death row inmate who has exhausted all of his appeals ... Inmate Foley has nothing to lose by attempting to escape and, as his criminal history demonstrates, no qualms about harming anyone that he sees as an impediment."

Foley, who has been on death row since 1993, argued that the warden was denying him the operation because it would be politically unpopular.

He said correction officers had repeatedly refused to let him use a wheelchair, but the court found that since he was offered a walker and given pain medication and a steroid injection, he could not claim medical treatment was being withheld.

A federal judge sided with the prison, and a magistrate this week upheld that ruling.

Foley was sentenced to death for killing two brothers during a fight in 1991 and executing two men and two women in 1989 because he believed one of them had reported him to his parole officer.

Kentucky death row inmate Robert Foley, 55, at the Eddyville State Penitentiary in 2011.Daniel Patmore / AP file